Articles Posted in Emergency Room Errors

Anderson Fuentes, 47, had been diagnosed HIV-positive. He experienced severe back pain and an inability to urinate. He was admitted to Wycoff Heights Medical Center emergency room, where he was seen by an internist, Dr. Onyemachi Ajah. After Fuentes underwent drainage of his urine, Dr. Ajah attributed his pain to urine retention and scheduled Fuentes for discharge from the hospital.

Mr. Fuentes then began to experience difficulty walking and refused to leave the hospital. As a result, a CT scan was done, which showed a previously diagnosed herniated disk at L3-4.

Another physician, Dr. Theophine Abakporo, assumed Fuentes’s care and ordered a second CT scan. Dr. Abakporo also called for a neurological consultation, which was done several hours later.
Continue reading

Robert Klein went to a hospital emergency room complaining of right flank pain, urinary burning, and blood in his urine. He was 48 years old at the time. A third-year resident, Dr. Lien Nguyen, ordered a CT scan. The CT scan results revealed kidney stones and a bladder mass.

Dr. Nguyen discharged Klein with instructions to see a urologist.

Over a year later, after Klein’s symptoms progressed, he underwent an ultrasound, which again showed a mass on his bladder. He was diagnosed with Stage III bladder cancer and underwent an unsuccessful procedure to remove the cancer. He later required removal of his entire bladder.
Continue reading

Doe was 32 when he was taken to Roe Hospital’s emergency room suffering from abdominal distention, constipation and discomfort. There were a large number of patients in the emergency room at the time Doe came in. In the emergency department, Mr. Doe was brought to a hallway because of the overcrowding where hospital nurses attended to him. Over the course of several hours, Doe’s symptoms worsened. Hospital nurses administered a Fleet enema.

A later CT scan revealed that Mr. Doe had a bowel perforation. Surgery was considered but deemed to be too late. Mr. Doe suffered septic shock and then died a day later.

The lawsuit against the hospital alleged that it chose not to timely diagnose and treat Doe’s bowel perforation, which led to his untimely death. Before trial, the parties settled for $950,000.
Continue reading

Samuel Chifalo, 63, fell and hit his head. An ambulance crew arrived and put a cervical collar on before taking him to Parkview Medical Center.

At the hospital, the staff noted that Chifalo had difficulty moving his arms and legs. Nevertheless, emergency room physician Dr. Ashley Ostrand did not document this condition after doing a physical exam and recording Chifalo’s medical history. The doctor ordered CT scans of Chifalo’s neck and head and discharged him from the hospital with a referral to an orthopedic surgeon.

The next day, Chifalo was unable to walk and returned to the emergency room at the same hospital. This time Dr. Ostrand ordered MRIs of his head and cervical and thoracic spinal cord regions. Chifalo was then diagnosed as having a spinal cord injury at C3-4 with quadriparesis. Despite rehabilitation, Chifalo continued to suffer from paralysis.
Continue reading

Then 2-year-old Doe was taken to a children’s hospital after suffering a fall. A pediatric resident, Dr. James Prosser, set Doe’s fractured right arm and placed a cast on the arm. Later that day, Doe was returned to the hospital, where another physician examined him again and discharged him.

Doe’s parents took the child back to the same hospital a third time. This time the staff removed the child’s cast. This led to a diagnosis of compartment syndrome and Volkmann’s ischemic contracture.

Doe is now 19 years old and has a deformed and shortened right arm, scarring, and lost function in two of his fingers.
Continue reading

Connie Lockhart was hospitalized after overdosing on medication. She was 58 years old at the time of this incident. An emergency room physician inserted a central line femoral catheter in her right leg. However, this was misplaced into her femoral artery instead of her femoral vein.

Lockhart was transferred to the facility’s ICU where she received care from critical care pulmonologist Dr. Sachin Lavania.

Nurses informed Dr. Lavania that Lockhart’s leg had become cold, mottled, and pulseless.
Continue reading

Sharon Wiser, 62, had a history of migraine headaches. She experienced right-sided headaches over a two-week period. She went to Essentia Health Duluth Clinic, where she reported her headache history and told the clinic staff that she was suffering from blurred vision.

Wiser was discharged from the clinic with a diagnosis of a migraine headache and was given a prescription for Toradol. The next day, she consulted a family physician who advised her to follow up if her symptoms did not improve.

One week later, she returned to Duluth Clinic, where internist Dr. Alan Peterson ordered a CT scan of her head. The next night, however, she went to an emergency room, complaining of a significant headache.
Continue reading

Paul Chicoine was 47 years old when he experienced nausea, vomiting and extreme dizziness as he was painting a ceiling. He then developed left-sided numbness, weakness, and slurred speech.

He was taken by ambulance to a hospital where he was given medication. An emergency physician, Dr. Michael Mendola, ordered blood tests and a CT scan of the head. The finding from the CT scan was negative except for a note about a sinus inflammation. Chicoine was then discharged with the diagnosis of vertigo and sinusitis.

Eight days after discharge, he suffered a stroke. After extensive rehabilitation over eight months, he returned to his job as a court officer. He has been unable to continue working due to his deficits, which included vision impairment and limited use of his left hand, which were the result of the stroke.
Continue reading

Melanie Smith, 40, was taken to a hospital suffering from a severe headache, slurred speech, dizziness, right-sided weakness, and vomiting. These were all apparent signs of a stroke.

Two hours after she arrived at the hospital, an emergency physician, Dr. Antonio Baca, examined her, prescribed migraine medication and ordered a CT scan. The scan was negative for hemorrhagic stroke.

However, Smith’s symptoms continued over the next few hours. Dr. Baca ordered an MRI and consulted with a neurologist. The MRI showed that Smith had suffered an ischemic stroke. She was then transferred to another hospital where she underwent a craniotomy. A craniotomy is the serious surgical procedure in which the skull is perforated. A bone flap is temporarily removed from the skull to allow access to the brain by the neurosurgeons. A craniotomy is usually completed so that neurosurgeons can remove a brain tumor or an abnormal brain tissue.
Continue reading

Michael Fava, 58, went to the emergency department complaining of leg pain that had not improved since he was seen at another hospital the previous day. He was diagnosed with having a retroperitoneal hemorrhage and a lack of blood flow to the legs.

However, the treating vascular surgeons, Dr. Harold Chung-Loy and Dr. Vincent Moss, chose not to determine the cause of the bleeding.

Fava spent four days in the hospital, which ended when he had bilateral above-the-knee leg amputations as a result of the lack of blood flow to his legs.
Continue reading